Acquisition of MQ-9B drones: Speculative reports uncalled for

OV Digital Desk

The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), on 15 June 2023, granted an Acceptance of Need (AoN) for the acquisition of 31 MQ-9B (16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian) High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Aircraft Systems remotely piloted (RPAS) for Tri-Services from the US via the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route. The AoN included the number of UAVs to be purchased along with associated equipment.

The AoN took over the estimated cost of US$3,072 million provided by the US government. However, the price will be negotiated once political approval is received from the US government. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) will compare the purchase cost with the best price offered by General Atomics (GA) to other countries. The tender is in progress and will be concluded according to the foreseen procedure.

As part of the FMS pathway, a Letter of Request (LOR) would be sent to the US Government which would include the Tri services requirements, equipment details and terms of the contract. Based on the LOR, the US Government and the Department of Defense will finalize the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) in which the details of the equipment and the terms of the procurement will be negotiated and finalized in accordance with the FMS schedule and the price and terms offered by the US government and GA in other countries.

Meanwhile, some speculative reports regarding the price and other terms of purchase have surfaced in sections of social media. These are misplaced, have ulterior motives and aim to derail the due process of acquisition. The price and other terms and conditions of the purchase are yet to be finalized and subject to negotiation. In this regard, everyone is requested not to spread fake news/disinformation which can have serious repercussions on the morale of the Armed Forces and negatively affect the acquisition process.



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